What Do ‘Plan B’ Restrictions Mean in the UK?
The government has implemented its Plan B response to the emergence of the Omicron variant, which includes new COVID restrictions.
In September, Plans A, B and C were created as concepts by the government to tackle coronavirus over the winter period, with Plan B now being introduced to prevent the NHS from overwhelming pressure.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, said before the announcement that Plan B coming into effect would buy time to continue with the booster programme, but that it does not rule out another lockdown if it did not stop the spread quickly enough.
Boris Johnson said it was the “responsible thing” to move to Plan B, as it’s become “increasingly clear that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous Delta variant.”
The Prime Minister went on to say: “We can’t yet assume that Omicron is less severe… and it could lead to a big to a big increase in hospitalisations and sadly deaths.”
Although Plan B was drawn up before the Omicron variant, changes have been expanded to accommodate the new factor.
Those changes that Plan B brings to current restrictions are:
Reintroducing guidance to work from home, if possible, from 13 December.
Legally mandating face masks in “most public indoor venues”, including theatres and cinemas from 10th December, with exceptions “where it’s not practical, including while eating, drinking, exercising or singing.”
NHS COVID passes for nightclubs, unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people.
Daily testing for people identified as a contact of a coronavirus case – isolation is now only required for people who test positive.
Face masks had already been reintroduced in shops, banks, post offices, hairdressers, and public transport from the 30th of November.
The announcement made on the 8th of December has wider-ranging restrictions than were first proposed back in September.